Monday, August 26, 2013

Crazy Cat Lady: Lindsay



            My mom and her then-boyfriend came home with her one May afternoon.  They said they found her over by the school, and decided to bring her home as a birthday present for my younger sister.  She was still a young kitten, her gray and white fur was soft, and she was friendly.  My sister named her right away: “Lindsay”.  This was my sister’s 9th birthday.  I was 11.

            Lindsay was there through my awkward pre-teen years.  She was there while we (my sister and I ) were both preadolescently chubby and acne-filled.  She witnessed our chickenpox.  She adjusted to a home that already had two dogs in it.

            Then she was there to greet me when I came home from after-school basketball, track, soccer, and volleyball practices, curiously sniffing my bags and shoes.  She saw good days, bad days, sad days, stressful days; fad makeup and hairstyles.  She saw everything that had to do with two girls being brought into their teenage years with essentially a single dad.  The mom that initially brought her into our home was seldom around.

            She was a companion; she came meowing and headbutting whenever she heard tears or sobs.  She purred happily when brushed or petted.

            In the summer of 2002, she had her only litter.  They were born on July 3.  There were four altogether: Cupcake, Liberty, Bell, and Shamu.  She adopted Smoky, the rescue kitten brought to us by the neighbors.  Smoky was the first to be adopted, after the ad we placed in the Super Shopper announcing “Free Kittens to Good Home” was seen.  Shamu and Cupcake also found homes, but we decided to keep Liberty and Bell.  Liberty was around for about 1 year, then went missing.  Bell was around about 4 years, then went the same way.  We were never sure where they ended up, but searched frantically for both of them.

            All of them were always inside/outside cats, so a couple times, Lindsay didn’t come home for about 2 days, and we freaked out, thinking she was gone forever.  I stressed, cried, and prayed that she would come home.  She always did.  She had her favorite playing spot across the street in the neighbor’s hedge. 

            I took my anger out on Lindsay once.  I think it was high school, and I was crying and she wouldn’t leave me alone, so I threw her onto my bed. 

            When I left for college, it was hard to leave her, and the two dogs, who were also both around at the time.  But, every time I came home to visit, Lindsay was there to cuddle.

            Lindsay stayed at my mom’s house the whole 4 years that my sister went away to college as well.  My mom never took very good care of her (this was after Dad died).  She said her fur flew everywhere, so she kept her mostly outdoors and in the garage.  Her fur got matted.  Still, she never ran away.  She was always loyal.  My sister finally got smart and moved her to Tucson to live with her last year.  She shaved her down and made her feel safe and loved again.

            Lindsay is still alive as of today, August 14, 2013.  However, she has had a few vet visits lately, due mostly to my prodding my sister to get her in for a wellness check.  I have a cat of my own now, and encourage my sister to be a responsible pet parent since this is the first time she has had Lindsay on her own.  The vet was concerned about Lindsay’s overall health.  She had mites in her ears; some of her teeth were questionable and look like they’re on their way out.  She also found an abnormal amount of fluid in her stomach, and told my sister further tests would be needed.

            Now the vet is worried that Lindsay has cancer.  Lindsay will have an ultrasound tomorrow to determine what’s next. 

            My sister just had her 23rd birthday.  That means she’s had Lindsay for 14 years.  I wish we had kept her healthier, like more routine vet visits.  She never went to the vet for wellness checks ever, and hasn’t even had vaccination boosters for like 10 years.  But we were kids.  Our parents were supposed to take care of us and our pets. 

            They didn’t.  So now, we do the best we can to continue to care for ourselves and our animals, making up the ground that was lost. 

            Lindsay wasn’t our first cat, but in a way she was.  (We had Mota and Zeeper before them; I was 9 ish and Sister was 7 ish; Mota had a litter that all died at birth/shortly after/went missing; Zeeper disappeared.  It was a family legend that certain neighbors to the back stole all of our cats over the years.  We’ll never know)

            She’s been such a good cat.  I hope she feels as though she’s had a good life. 

 (Lindsay, 12/21/2012)

Pickles. Yes, Pickles.


Learning to Love Pickles


            In trying to pick a topic from my list to write about tonight, I came across the title of this post.  I thought it’d be fun to throw a few more pieces together for you, for me, for my soul.

            In 8th grade, my close friend Alle* called me and told me that a modeling school called Barbizon was coming to town to do a model search for their classes, and that she was auditioning and I should do it with her.  I talked it over with my dad, found the ad in the paper, and decided to go for it.

            We auditioned, were called back, and were both given spots in the class.  The class started in the fall, and would go through the spring, with classes for about 6 hours every other Saturday.  My dad and Alle’s mom took turns driving us to the classes, and afterwards, we spent time together practicing everything we just learned, having sleepovers, and eating (and then analyzing what we were eating, thanks to our newfound model knowledge).

            So one of those Saturday afternoons after class, Alle introduced me to Jack-in-the-Box, a very popular fast-food chain of the Western United States.  The first time I ordered a Jumbo Jack, their signature hamburger, I realized it had pickles on it.  I don’t think I had ever really given pickles a chance up to this point, and I was 13 years old!  The one memory I had of eating a pickle up to this point in time was an unpleasant one.

            But I noticed that Alle ordered a CUP of extra pickles every single time.  That’s right, a small beverage cup from a fast-food restaurant—filled with pickles! 

            I saw her do this enough times that I started wondering more about the tangy sandwich topper, and pretty soon, I was eating them every chance I got. 

            Alle and I also went to lots of movies.  I remember going to one movie at the theatre where instead of popcorn or candy, Alle ordered a giant pickle!  I now knew that pickles were everywhere.

            Today, not only do I love pickles, but pickle juice. I’ve been known to drink it (maybe about half a glass at a time). 

As far as the pickles themselves, I pile them high on my burgers, the rare one I will eat anymore (more on my “vegetarian tendencies” in another post), but mostly, I just eat them however I can get them.  I buy jars of the slices; at salad bars, I go for piles of the slices; my most recent favorite way of feeding my habit is by purchasing the economy-sized jar of the spears from Walmart and keeping it in my fridge.  I nibble on them every couple of days (ahem—especially right before certain times of the month).  Pickles have become a sort of gauge for me.  If I’m craving them, I know I may be needing to replenish the sodium in my body after a tough workout.

            I know it’s strange to write about pickles.  But, it is a piece of me, so it was going to get written about eventually! 

            Plus every time I stop and think about how crazy I go for pickles, I can’t help but remember my sweet friend Alle.  It’s always so nice to just stop and look back at all the little things of my good ol’ early teen years.  I associate those two years that Alle and I became closest with wonderful lessons about friendship and incorporating positive leisure time into one’s life.  Alle was a really positive friend for me to have in those crucially shaping pre-teen/early teen years.  I loved going over to her house.  We always found something to do that was productive yet fun, and I always felt so much more centered after coming back from her parent’s house.

            I know the pickles don’t necessarily have anything to do with that, but to me, they are an icon of a previous season of my life. 


*This is the shortened version of her name, which she went by in grade school.